Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nothing Wrong

When Elise was fairly new, I felt that I was constantly being watched and OBSERVED as a new parent to a child with special needs. I don't really know now, how constant that actually was. Everybody looks at new babies. Are they all questioning what is "wrong" with your child? No, probably not.

Everyone I knew was adjusting to our new life, too. And the weight of people feeling sorry for us was VERY heavy there for a while. Like oppressively so.

HOWEVER, there are those that do judge. I had more than a few people eye Elise in her baby bucket carrier, and some brave ones actually asked what was "wrong" with my baby. At first, I accepted this, and answered their questions. After a while, this got old, and so I would answer "nothing, she's just tired".

But one day, I was at the end of my rope emotionally, and some ugly little lady asked me what was "wrong" with my baby, and I caught my breath and shrieked "What???? I don't know!!! Do you think she is sick? Do you think she has Downs? What????" She was horrified and retreated, and I had a nice, if hysterical laugh over her panic....It was ever so freeing. In retrospect, I fluctuate between ashamed of my behavior, and thinking it pretty much served her right.

I got Norah Jones' album Come Away With Me along with everyone else in early 2002 and I loved it. When I found that I was going to have a girl, I would listen to the song "Seven Years" and imagine making dandelion and daisy chains in the sunshine with my little girl...

Then when Elise was born, I would listen to that song with a dagger in my heart, mourning the normal. The "nothing wrong" in the song seemed a taunt, rather than a promise. I hated it. And gave up listening to this album for a while...

Elise found it a few months back and decided that she liked it and wanted to listen to the CD as she went to sleep. And I listened to the words to "Seven Years" again. And I found myself thinking that it applied even more to her than I ever thought it would. She is happy and there is nothing WRONG with her. She is perfectly her. And that is all there is to it.


  1. You are so RIGHT! Thank you so much for sharing this. I still get some strange too-long-looks down here in the South when I go out with my brown "babies" (because they will always be my babies). Isaiah says they are "brown", and I am "yellow". People may judge all they want, but I know I am the luckiest mom in the world! :) By the way, that album makes me smile.

  2. Your writing, Tiffany, is always a wonderful mix of poignancy, wisdom, and FUN ~ all wrapped up with a flair of artistry ~ sure to bring a smile & a tear . . .This one was no exception! . . . and yes, the song surely captures Fair Elise!

  3. Can't argue with that! We have special needs paranoia, :)

  4. I LOVED this post! And I would have been behind that lady giving you a huge smile and a thumbs up had I been there.